California's firearms seizure program is making its way


California authorities are fighting to enforce a law allowing officials to seize firearms from people who have already been convicted of criminal offenses or who have mental health problems – facing staff and budget problems that have contributed to a backlog considerable amount of firearms destined for confiscation.

The law, passed in 2013 following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and providing $ 24 million for seizure programs, aimed to confiscate approximately 20,000 firearms over three years. But six years later, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report, about 9,000 of these weapons are still available, and others are added to the list each year.

While the new governor of the state, Gavin Newsom, has made gun control a priority of his new government and proposed a multi-million dollar increase to hire more officers, the program would have been affected by retention problems and lack of experience among new agents.


"This is only the continuing, unglamorous need to invest in this task and bring it to fruition," said former Sen. Mark Leno at the San Francisco Chronicle. "It just does not go away and the work is never done."

When the law was adopted for the first time in 2013, funds were available for about four dozen temporary posts to supplement 42 special agents of the Department of Justice. But retirements and transfers limited the total to about 57 and the department was forced to return $ 6 million on a $ 24 million increase. An additional $ 5 million was released in 2016, but state officials say they have always had hiring problems.

Under the authority of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, seven positions opened over the past year remained vacant and agents were forced last year to sign contracts guaranteeing that they stay in office for at least two years.

"We take students out of the university, with minimal law enforcement experience, and we have to train them for a year," Alfredo Cardwood, chairman of the union, told Chronicle. agents of the Ministry of Justice. "Once we train them, they go out and go to work for the local DAs."


New employees earn between $ 50,844 and $ 66,852, and a recent report from the California Human Resources Department found that state agents earned about 19% less than their local counterparts.

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